ROCHESTER STREETCARS  No. 22 in a series

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by Charles R. Lowe

Railroad roofs such as seen here on car 705 graced only a minority of Rochesterís streetcars. While some early single-truck cars including 100-119 and 200-299 had railroad roofs, later cars mostly had either deck or arch roofs. Among the latter-day double-truck cars in Rochester, only 40 cars, the 700-724 and 800-814 cars, employed railroad roofs.

The 700-724 cars were built by G. C. Kuhlman Car Company of Cleveland, Ohio under shop order 440 in 1910. The carsí 32í-6" car bodies seated 44; platforms at each end gave these cars an overall length of 44í-8".

New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 705.
        Original negative owned by Shelden King

The four GE219 motors, built by General Electric Company and rated at 50 horsepower each, enabled the low 700s to pull trailers. The late Norm Kistner recorded that in the late 1920s, 705 was seen towing steel trailers 1101, 1115, 1116, 1119, or 1124 at various times. The wood 1400-1410 trailers were rarely paired with the low 700s and never, it seems, with 705. That New York State Railways made a repeat order with Kuhlman in 1911 (shop order 494) for 15 more almost identical cars, 800-814, indicates the success of the low 700s. A motor-car-and-trailer train could handle high volume crowds with only ĺ of the crew that equivalent single cars needed since the trailer only required a conductor. As crew costs (known as "platform" costs in the industry) increased, this consideration became ever more important.

Another innovation of the low 700s was their single-ended arrangement. Motor and brake controls were located only at one end of the car. The low 700s were Rochesterís first single-end cars built as such since the single-end bobtail horsecars of the 1880s. Construction of loops at the ends of Rochesterís streetcar lines proceeded quickly after 1907, permitting use of efficient single-end streetcars.

Although rebuilt in 1917-1920, the 700-724 and 800-814 cars remained 2-man cars for their entire service careers. As trailer use in Rochester diminished in the 1930s with a decrease in ridership and a conversion of streetcar lines to bus operation, the 700-724 and 800-814 cars were withdrawn from operation. First of the trailer fleet to be scrapped were the 1400s; most were gone by the end of 1935. Car 705, which never received a white safety stripe as did most Rochester cars in the late 1920s, is seen in this photo languishing at Blossom Road Yard about 1936. It is sandwiched between 1100-series trailers, and all three cars are awaiting their final scrapping. By August of 1939, scrapping of the low 700s, the low 800s and the 1100-series trailers would be complete.